Trash pile-up on Toll Branch Road becomes KCCB focus

Published 8:02 am Tuesday, January 29, 2019

An issue of trash piling up along a roadside outside an apartment complex has become a dispute of authority as to whether Elizabethton or Carter County is responsible for clearing it.

Keep Carter County Beautiful chairman Ed Jordan said he had noticed the trash piling up at 104 Toll Branch Road since mid-December, but said he could not get either the city or county to agree as to whose responsibility it was.

Ed Basconi, a member of KCCB, said he contacted the Sheriff’s Office about the trash.

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“They said if the debris pile was not on the county road right-of-way, nothing could be done,” Basconi said.

Jordan said he believes the county should be responsible for cleaning up the debris.

“I am pretty sure this is the county, as the property is technically outside Elizabethton City limits,” Jordan said.

Most of the trash has been relatively simple bags of trash stowed away in broken trash cans, but over the past week, the pile had new additions: two mattresses and a couch.

Property Manager Ade Laurant said the trash is coming from the residents, who often leave their stuff behind when they move out.

“Every day it gets worse,” Laurant said. “We are trying to fix it as best as we can.”

He said the apartment complex is resorting to clear up the debris itself, planning to haul away the trash on their own by the end of this week, though he said it will take a while because of how little of it will fit in their vehicles.

“We are hiring a guy across the street to come by once a month to keep the area clean after that,” Laurant said.

He said the mattresses and couch came from recent residents who told him their cousins would be coming by to pick it up, and then they never came.

“I was planning to take the couch myself after a while, but I decided to wait,” he said. “One day passed, then another, and then another, and then it rained.”

Jordan said the debris has become a health hazard, the pile hosting rats and other small animals.

“When people see this, other people will think it is OK to add to it,” Jordan said.

Basconi said the debris pile reflects badly on Milligan College, which resides just across the street from the complex.

“This is right at the end of this beautiful campus,” he said. “Surely this will affect people’s decisions on whether to go to school here.”

Jordan said this debris pile is not atypical of the county’s current trash troubles, saying this kind of trash is common across the Milligan Highway area.